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Business News: Cruise Ship Industry Poorly Regulated; Bird Flu in Mexico

By: AP
By: AP
Cruise Ship Industry Secretive with Limited Inspections... Mexico: Bird flu outbreak hits 582,000 chickens... Chicago bank shuttered, makes 3rd failure of 2013

The cruise ship Carnival Triumph is pushed towards the cruise terminal along the Mobile River in Mobile, Ala., Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. / AP Photo/Dave Martin

MIAMI (AP) -- A maze of maritime regulations and fragmented oversight of the cruise industry make it tough for consumers to assess the health and safety record of ships they're about to board for vacation.
No one entity or country oversees or regulates the industry. There's no central database for passengers seeking ship information.
The Coast Guard and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer some ship safety and health information online.
In the case of the Carnival Triumph ship that spent days disabled at sea after an engine fire, vacationers could have gone to those agencies' websites before boarding, but they would have found mostly clean marks and few red flags.
And when something goes wrong, as it did on Triumph, there are limits to how much the Coast Guard can investigate.

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Mexico's animal health agency says a bird flu outbreak at seven farms in central Mexico has affected as many as 582,000 chickens.
The Agriculture Department says more than a half million birds were exposed, but the number that will have to be slaughtered has yet to be determined.
An outbreak of the H7N3 bird flu virus in western Mexico in 2012 led to the slaughter of more than 22 million hens and caused price increases in chicken and egg products.
But the department said Friday that the current outbreak has not affected the supply of chicken products.
It said tests were continuing to determine the exact strain of virus involved in the outbreak, but said it did not affect humans.
Mexico's nationwide flock amounts to 137 million birds.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Regulators say they have closed a small bank in Chicago, bringing to three the number of U.S. bank failures this year following 51 closures in 2012.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Friday seized Covenant Bank, which had about $58.4 million in assets and $54.2 million in deposits as of Dec. 31.
Liberty Bank and Trust Co., based in New Orleans, agreed to assume all of Covenant Bank's deposits and buy essentially all of the failed lender's assets.
The failure of Covenant Bank, which had a single banking branch, is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $21.8 million.


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